The Florida Legislature's years-long policy of cutting state funding for higher education while shifting more of the cost of a college education to students and parents continues.
Budgets passed in the Senate and the House of Representatives again reduce state funding for universities and colleges by hundreds of millions of dollars after four years of deep cuts and despite rapidly increasing enrollment.
While philosophically opposed to raising taxes or fees, legislative leaders contemplate some increases in tuition. The final amount of tuition hikes - and the overall level of cuts in state dollars for higher education - will not be known until the two chambers agree on a budget and until Governor Rick Scott, who has said he opposes tuition increases, signs it.
Regardless of the depth of cuts in this session, the recent history of appropriations for Florida's 11 public universities and 28 state colleges (formerly known as community colleges) constitutes a record of disinvestment. Meanwhile, the Governor and legislative leaders trumpet college education as a key to a vibrant state economy and are asking universities to produce more graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
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